To drive growth and open up new markets - if you want to scale your company, you have to use many marketing channels, especially in highly competitive industries. Print has been experiencing a renaissance for some years now: flyers and mailings are perceived as being of higher quality and usually remain in the target group's memory longer than digital advertising measures. The argument that print is too expensive is no longer valid. Database publishing makes print production a cost-efficient growth driver for companies.
Definition: What is Database Publishing?
Database publishing is the largely automated creation of media products, especially print documents, from a central data source.
Database contents such as product images, prices and article numbers are automatically transferred to a layout system via configured interfaces. This means that data maintenance does not have to be carried out in a layout program, which leads to process optimization and a clear distribution of responsibilities.
How Does Database Publishing Work?
Many companies still create their publications manually - in a process that can be time-consuming and error-prone.
The decision is made: An advertising material is to be produced. Where do you get the necessary information? An editor collects texts from Word documents, old catalogs and e-mails, pulls images from a folder in the company network or asks colleagues for them. He takes prices from an Excel list from the sales department. Then he creates the print layout. If changes are made at short notice, they have to be implemented laboriously and often with a great deal of manual effort.
The advantage of database publishing is that data procurement is centralized. Time-consuming data and information procurement as well as error-prone change processes are bypassed by using a database publishing solution. It shortens the process and automates most manual steps.
All the information required for publication is stored in a central data source, for example a PIM system. This is connected to a layout program such as Adobe Indesign or QuarkXpress. Once a basic or base layout has been created and it has been defined which content from the source system should be placed where, the document updates itself automatically when data changes. The publication is thus always up to date.
Database Publishing Examples: What Can Database Publishing Be Used For?
Database publishing can be used for digital publications as well as for print products. The most common fields of application are print formats that are published regularly and with a low degree of change:
- product catalogs
- print advertising
- technical documentations
Advantages of Database Publishing
Given the increasing cost pressure in many companies, database publishing is an ideal solution for publishing print publications cost-effectively. Automation also plays out its advantages here.
Time saving and scaling
Employees no longer need to gather data from many sources or scroll through hundreds of pages to make changes. They can use their working time for more value-adding activities. With database publishing, one click is all it takes to generate documents. By automatically generating publications, the number of proofing cycles is minimized. Multilingual products can also be generated in a few steps with the right configuration, without having to copy or recreate templates. Scaling print communication is easily possible in this way.
With manual processes, there is always a risk that individual updates will not be included in the product after all. There is also the risk that errors occur during re-placement or that last-minute corrections are transmitted too late to the responsible editor. With a central data source as the basis for database publishing, a consistently high quality standard can be achieved. The risk of technical complications and user errors in database publishing is minimal.
Highly standardized publications such as a price list can be "generated with the push of a button". On the other hand, employees can continue to generate and edit emotionally charged advertising materials creatively without having to worry about the correctness of the connected data.
Example of the Use of Database Publishing in the Company
Parsionate supports companies from various industries in the development of modern database publishing processes - from inventory analysis, requirements gathering and software evaluation in the publishing area to the introduction of appropriate tools such as WERK II.
One of our customers is Festo, a leading manufacturer of automation technology. In 2020, the company achieved group-wide sales of 2.84 billion euros. Festo offers around 600 model ranges - this complexity is reflected in the technical documentation, which used to be generated manually.
As Parsionate, we supported Festo in switching the production of the documentation to database publishing. Since the documentation has to be published at the time of the market launch of each product, the production is highly time sensitive. With the automation provided by database publishing, we were able to take the time pressure out of the production process while minimizing the risk of errors.
How Can Database Publishing Be Implemented?
- 1. Requirements for the publishing processes: In the first step, companies define which processes exist and what is published in the process. What are the requirements for the processes and publication?
- 2. Analyze and centralize data sources: At least as important is the analysis of the systems in which the data is stored. Is product data already stored in a central database or are there multiple data sources? Can data formats be standardized? For larger data inventories, the introduction of a PIM system is a good idea. Regular data maintenance is also important for the sustained success of database publishing.
- 3. Optimize or redefine processes: The change to automated publishing affects previous processes and responsibilities. Which people/roles have been involved in production up to now? How should the process be structured in the future? Who is responsible for approvals, who is responsible for technical monitoring? Companies should clarify these questions in advance of implementation.
- 4. Evaluate technology: The next step is to research suitable database publishing applications on the market and check them against your own requirements. Are the solutions compatible with existing technologies? Is integration via interfaces straightforward? The installed applications determine which database publishing solutions can be considered for implementation and which investment costs need to be calculated.
- 5. Implementing the technology: Only now does the actual implementation of the new applications take place: If no PIM system is available, one must be purchased. Existing data must be migrated and, if necessary, transformed. A connection point between PIM system, possibly MAM and DAM system, and layout application must also be established.
We recommend involving an implementation partner at an early stage who not only has an eye on the technological perspective, but also optimizes the implementation from a process perspective.
- 6. Configuring the publishing system: Before the new production process goes live, layout templates are created for the planned publications and products from the database are linked to placeholders on the pages. From now on, all it takes is the push of a button to print brochures, mailings and catalogs with the latest data at any time.
Frequently Asked Questions About Database Publishing
A database publishing system automates much of the manual work involved in standardized publications such as product catalogs or mailings. Information from a central data source is linked to a layout system via software, so that once templates have been created, they are automatically filled with the latest information. The production process is initiated with just a few clicks.
Adobe InDesign can be integrated into the database publishing process as a layout system. Templates for publications are created in the application. Designers place placeholders on the pages, which are then filled with information from the linked database.
A product information management system serves as the central data source in database publishing. The layout program automatically pulls information from the database for previously defined placeholders so that the publication does not have to be changed manually each time data (product price, item number, etc.) changes.
Success with Database Publishing